Tsunami motorcycle to be preserved at Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE —

A Harley-Davidson motorcycle recovered on the coast of British Columbia after drifting for more than a year and 4,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean following last year’s tsunami in Japan will be preserved by the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee as a memorial to the tragedy that claimed more than 15,000 lives, in accordance with the wishes of its owner, Ikuo Yokoyama.

The remarkable story of the 2004 FXSTB Softail Night Train motorcycle’s survival and recovery by Canadian Peter Mark made international headlines after he found it washed ashore on a remote beach on British Columbia’s Graham Island at low tide. Mark discovered the motorcycle, still bearing its Japanese license plate, along with several other items in the remains of an insulated cargo van container where the motorcycle was being stored by Yokoyama prior to the tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011.

Working with news agencies and representatives from Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada and Harley-Davidson Japan, contact was made with 29-year-old Yokoyama, who lost his home and currently lives in temporary housing in Miyagi Prefecture. Harley-Davidson offered to return his bike. But still struggling to rebuild his life in the aftermath of the disaster, Yokoyama respectfully declined. Although grateful for the offer to repatriate his motorcycle and touched by the outpouring of support from Harley riders around the world, Yokoyama requested to have it preserved in the Harley-Davidson Museum in honor of those whose lives were lost or forever changed by the disaster.

“It is truly amazing that my Harley-Davidson motorcycle was recovered in Canada after drifting for more than a year,” said Yokoyama. “I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciation to Peter Mark, the finder of my motorcycle. Due to circumstances caused by the disaster, I have been so far unable to visit him in Canada to convey my gratitude.

“Since the motorcycle was recovered, I have discussed with many people about what to do with it. I would be delighted if it could be preserved in its current condition and exhibited to the many visitors to the Harley-Davidson Museum as a memorial to a tragedy that claimed thousands of lives. I am very grateful to Harley-Davidson for offering me an opportunity to visit the museum, and I would like to do that when things have calmed down. At the same time, I would like to meet Peter, who recovered my motorcycle, to express my gratitude. Finally, I would like to thank all people around the world once again for their wholehearted support of the areas hit by the earthquake and Tsunami. I would like to ask them to help convey messages from the Japanese people about the tragedy of the Great East Japan Earthquake, which was a disaster of historic proportions.”

“My heart really goes out to Ikuo Yokoyama and all the survivors of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami for everything that was taken from them. I cannot even begin to comprehend the loss of family, friends and community,” said Mark. “I think it is fitting that the Harley which was swept across the Pacific Ocean by the tsunami will end up in the Harley-Davidson Museum as a memorial to that tragic event. It has an interesting and powerful story to convey preserved in its current state.

The motorcycle was recovered by Mark with the help of friends and has since been transferred to Deeley H-D Canada in Vancouver. Plans for its transportation to and display at the Harley-Davidson Museum are being developed.

“I’ve always felt Harley-Davidson motorcycles have a soul, and their owners obviously have an emotional attachment to their bikes. I just wanted to reunite this bike with its owner,” said Steve Drane of Steve Drane Harley-Davidson in Victoria, B.C.

“The Harley-Davidson Museum is honored to receive this amazing motorcycle to ensure that its condition is preserved and can be displayed as a memorial to the Japan tsunami tragedy,” said Bill Davidson, Vice President of the Harley-Davidson Museum.

PR Newswire

  • 4

    Okinawamike

    Although grateful for the offer to repatriate his motorcycle and touched by the outpouring of support from Harley riders around the world, Yokoyama requested to have it preserved in the Harley-Davidson Museum in honor of those whose lives were lost or forever changed by the disaster

    .

    Touching move dude. You are the man!

  • -7

    Amidalism

    Good on him.

  • 0

    Fadamor

    Even restored, the bike would probably be a constant reminder of March 11 and the family he lost. I imagine he donated it for his sake as much as for others.

  • 3

    KariHaruka

    Very touching article and respects all round for everyone involved. From the owner and the person who found it to Harley Davidson offering to return it to him.

  • 1

    ExportExpert

    This must be some kind of record for the longest continuous distance a Harley has travelled with out needing a service.

  • -2

    Photoman333

    If Harley-Davidson really had a soul they'd give him a new one.

  • 2

    Pump24

    In my family we have four HD's and I can atest Harley is a culture, not just a motorcycle. But foremost they are a company, and the idea of giving freebies back to anyone who lost a motorcycle is absurd, even in such a historical disaster. HD has made a nice offer, one they didn't have to do. No soul? Hardly.

    And why the slam, Amidalism? Wasn't it a Westerner who originally found the motorcycle and located the owner, rather than playing 'finders keepers?' Seems 'Westerners' are doing a lot to help preserve this lonely Softail.

  • 1

    kaminarioyaji

    @Amidalism

    I wonder how many Westerners would make such a bold move. Good on him.

    You're completely overlooking the fact that Mr Yokoyama would not have been able to make such a dignified gesture, where it not for the honesty and good will of a westerner, who could quite easily have said nothing, and sold the Harley, or had it restored for himself.

    The motorcycle was recovered by Mark with the help of friends

    Oh, hang on, it seems our western friend did not act alone in this good deed, he had friends help him, rather than advise him to keep it for himself...

    Hmmm.. returning something lost to authorities so that it can be returned to its owner - isn't that something a Japanese would do? Or not, as I've lost a couple of things here (keitai amongst them, which could easisly be determined to be mine if it had been handed into a Koban) never to be seen again.

    I wonder how many Westerners would make such a bold move. Good on him.

    More than you think.

  • 2

    cl400

    This article is also a reminder to us all that people in the Tohoku region still need our support and help. Another public donation drive or even just something small like a collection tin at our work place can make a difference.

  • 1

    YuriOtani

    Hope he gets a new bike if Harley does not get one for him perhaps a collection can be started. Goodwill makes goodwill and we should concentrate on things like this.

  • 2

    NetNinja

    I'm confident Harley Davidson will pitch something his way when he comes to visit.

    If Oprah Winfrey can give away cars every year I'm sure they can spare a Harley for him.

    Get a fat hog this time. Ask for the 2012 Night Rod Special. That's a real beauty.

    Wouldn't that be so dreamy. They walk into a room filled with the 2012 Line-Up. The President of Harley Davidson walks up with a box filled with keys. "Take your pick!".

    If it ends that way I'm going to be so jelly.

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